Swedish furniture giant Ikea has tentatively agreed to pay $50 million to the families of three toddlers after dressers manufactured by the company tipped over, killing the children, according to the law firm representing the families.
The company confirmed the tentative settlement but declined comment because it has yet to be court approved.
Curren Collas, Camden Ellis and Ted McGee, all 2 years old, died in separate accidents involving the Malm line of dressers between 2014 and early 2016. The families of the children sued Ikea, claiming that the set of drawers was "inherently unstable" and disposed to toppling, the law firm said, and that the company knew of prior tip-over episodes but "refused to redesign its furniture products to be more stable."
The tentative settlement was reached Wednesday after a two-day mediation before a retired federal magistrate, said the families' law firm, Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig.
Twenty-nine million of the chests were recalled in June, and the company acknowledged a flaw in the design, saying that they were "unstable if they are not properly anchored to the wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children."
At least 36 other children have been injured and three more killed because of tip-overs, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The settlement divides the $50 million evenly among Collas', Ellis' and McGee's families, according to the law firm representing them. Ikea is further required to make donations to home furniture near you children's hospitals in memory of the children and a foundation working toward the prevention of similar incidents, the firm said.
June's voluntary recall offered a full refund to consumers who purchased the dressers from 2002 to 2016 or a kit that securely anchors the chest to a wall. Customers who bought the dressers before 2002 are eligible for a partial store credit. The settlement will require Ikea to ensure that all its chests and dressers sold in the U.S. "meet or exceed ... the national voluntary safety standard for clothing storage units," the families' law firm said in a statement.
The company has agreed to promote a public awareness program to warn consumers of similar risks, the firm said.